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The 2nd European Workshop on Usable Security (EuroUSEC) will be an affiliated workshop at the 2nd IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy (EuroS&P) on April 29, 2017 in Paris at UPMC Campus Jussieu.

EuroUSEC is soliciting “previously unpublished work offering novel research contributions in any aspect of human factors in security and privacy for end-users and IT professionals,” including but not limited to:

  • innovative security or privacy functionality and design
  • new applications of existing models or technology
  • field studies of security or privacy technology
  • usability evaluations of new or existing security or privacy features
  • security testing of new or existing usability features
  • longitudinal studies of deployed security or privacy features
  • studies of administrators or developers and support for security and privacy
  • psychological, sociological and economic aspects of security and privacy
  • the impact of organizational policy or procurement decisions
  • methodology for usable security and privacy research
  • lessons learned from the deployment and use of usable privacy and security features
  • reports of replicating previously published studies and experiments
  • reports of failed usable privacy/security studies or experiments, with focus on the lessons learned

The submission deadline is March 17, 2017 and full instructions are published on the event homepage.

All affiliated workshops are listed on the EuroS&P 2017 homepage.

Academics Conference HCI Privacy by Design Privacy Impact Assessment Security

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is offering $25,000 (and runner-up prizes) for a “technical solution” that would protect consumers from the security risks of running out-of-date software on IoT devices in their homes.

Demonstrating growing concern about the security/privacy vulnerabilities of billions of connected devices, the FTC is hoping that the winning efforts will benefit the entire IoT spectrum, which goes far beyond the range of connected appliances, meters, screens, toys and gadgets expected to live in the residential home of the future.

The FTC’s press release states:

An ideal tool might be a physical device that the consumer can add to his or her home network that would check and install updates for other IoT devices on that home network, or it might be an app or cloud-based service, or a dashboard or other user interface. Contestants also have the option of adding features such as those that would address hard-coded, factory default or easy-to-guess passwords.

Such solutions could be scalable to entire workplaces, offering widespread protection against security threats.

Contest submissions will be accepted from March 1st until midday May 22, 2017. See the challenge homepage for further details.

The IoT Privacy Forum encourages more of such government contests addressing privacy and security concerns in the IoT. Since privacy is more often a cost center rather than a revenue source, money and attention from government actors is a great way to stimulate markets and technology.

Data Protection Policy Privacy by Design Security Smart Home

wearable-iot

Researchers at American University and the Center for Digital Democracy have today released a report on wearable eHealth devices, which represent a rapidly-growing IoT sector.

Titled Health Wearable Devices in the Big Data Era: Ensuring Privacy, Security & Consumer Protection (download PDF here), the 122 pages cover privacy and security threats, the Big Data marketplace, predictive/targeting methods, the legal and regulatory environment, and an extensive section on promoting ethical data practices. The intro to the report states:

The report documents a number of current digital health marketing practices that threaten the privacy of consumer health information, including condition targeting, look-alike modeling, predictive analytics, scoring, and the real-time buying and selling of individual consumers.

The potential range of intensely personal data obtainable from wearable (not to mention implantable) devices is what makes them such a potent marketing tool:

An emerging set of techniques will be designed to harness the unique capabilities of wearables—such as biosensors that track bodily functions, and “haptic technology” that enables users to “feel” actual body sensations. Pharmaceutical companies are poised to be among the major beneficiaries of wearable marketing. (p.4)

Recognizing the cost-saving and preventative benefits of eHealth devices, the report calls urgently for “meaningful, effective and enforceable safeguards” at the foundations of the connected-health system. Regulation in the U.S. is currently “weak and fragmented,” it notes, and is totally unprepared for sophisticated technologies capable of “unprecedented” data collection.

Data Ownership Data Protection Intimacy Law Policy Privacy by Design Wearables

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A former Uber employee is suing the company for whistleblower retaliation, exposing a startling set of claims about data privacy practices within the San Francisco-based corporation. At 45, Ward Spangenberg is a seasoned infosec expert who reportedly discovered extremely lax policy in data protection, retention and security — and how near-universal internal access to detailed personal information is compromising all Uber riders.

First up in Spangenburg’s declaration is that “payroll information for all Uber employees was contained in an unsecured Google spreadsheet”.

He says that Uber collects “a myriad of data” about its customers, including names, emails, social security numbers, locations, device types, and “other data that the user may or may not know they were even providing to Uber by requesting a ride”. Furthermore,

Uber’s lack of security regarding its customer data was resulting in Uber employees being able to track high-profile politicians, celebrities and even personal acquaintances of Uber employees, including ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, and ex-spouses. I also reported that […] allowing all employees to access this information (as opposed to a small security team) was resulting in a violation of governmental regulations regarding data protection and consumer privacy rights.

Such a wealth of personal information, available to all “without regard to any particular employment or security clearance” would make a mockery of Uber’s Vulnerability Management Policy, which “specifically stated, in writing” that:

the policy could not be followed if Uber deemed there was a “legitimate business purpose” for not doing so, or if a Director level employee or above permitted such an exception.

Finally, Uber “routinely deleted files which were subject to litigation holds,” while its Incident Response Team

would be called when governmental agencies raided Uber’s offices due to concerns regarding noncompliance with governmental regulations. In those instances, Uber would lock down the office and immediately cut all connectivity so that law enforcement could not access Uber’s information. I would then be tasked with purchasing all new equipment for the office within the day, which I did when Uber’s Montreal office was raided.

Spangenburg was reportedly “also a point person when foreign government agencies raided company offices abroad,” remotely encrypting office computers from Uber’s San Francisco HQ.

“My job was to just make sure that any time a laptop was seized, the protocol locked the laptops up,” he said.

You can read Will Evans‘s excellent article on the story here. Ward Spangenberg’s full declaration can be read here.

Connected Cars Data Protection Privacy by Design Realpolitik Security

Privacy and consumer watchdog groups have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about toys that are insecure enough to be used to spy on children easily. The targets of the complaint are Genesis Toys, the maker of My Friend Cayla and i-Que, and Nuance Communications, a third-party provider of voice recognition technology who also supplies products to law enforcement and the intelligence community. 

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumers Union and others have jointly filed the complaint, which boldly states in the introduction:

This complaint concerns toys that spy. By purpose and design, these toys record and collect the private conversations of young children without any limitations on collection, use, or disclosure of this personal information. The toys subject young children to ongoing surveillance and are deployed in homes across the United States without any meaningful data protection standards. They pose an imminent and immediate threat to the safety and security of children in the United States.

The complaint requests that the FTC investigate Genesis Toys for several problematic issues, ranging from easy unauthorized Bluetooth connections to the toys within a 50-foot range, to the difficulty of locating the Terms of Service. Many findings appear to violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and FTC rules prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices. These include collection of data from children younger than 13, vague descriptions of voice collection practices in the Privacy Policies, and contradictory/misleading information regarding third-party access to voice recordings.
 
Cayla’s companion app invites children to input their physical location, as well as their names, parents’ names, school, and their favorite TV shows, meals and toys. The complaint highlights that it’s unclear how long the manufacturer will hold this data, and if they will ever delete it even if requested:
The Privacy Policies for Cayla and i-Que state that Genesis does not retain personal information for “longer than is necessary.” The scope of what is “necessary” is undefined. Genesis permits users to request deletion of personal information the company holds about them, but advises users that “we may need to keep that information for legitimate business or legal purposes.”
Disturbingly, the complaint notes that each of the toys can be heavily compromised by two unauthorized phones working in tandem:
Researchers discovered that by connecting one phone to the doll through the insecure Bluetooth connection and calling that phone with a second phone, they were able to both converse with and covertly listen to conversations collected through the My Friend Cayla and i-Que toys.
BEUC, a European consumer organisation, have today joined the effort against the manufacturers by complaining to the European Commission, the EU network of national data protection authorities, and the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network.

It should be noted that Danelle Dobbins, then a Master’s student at Washington University in St. Louis, wrote about Cayla’s glaring security problems in a 2015 paper. Dobbins draws attention to the work of Ken Munro, a security specialist who hacked Cayla at the beginning of 2015 as seen in the below video (via the BBC).

The complaint further notes that children are being surreptitiously marketed to:

Researchers discovered that My Friend Cayla is pre-programmed with dozens of phrases that reference Disneyworld and Disney movies. For example, Cayla tells children that her favorite movie is Disney’s The Little Mermaid and her favorite song is “Let it Go,” from Disney’s Frozen. Cayla also tells children she loves going to Disneyland and wants to go to Epcot in Disneyworld.

This product placement is not disclosed and is difficult for young children to recognize as advertising. Studies show that children have a significantly harder time identifying advertising when it’s not clearly distinguished from programming.

The toys’ voice recognition feature comes from Nuance, who also offers products and services to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The most disturbing element of the complaint is the suggestion that children’s personal data and interactions could end up being used in the development of Nuance’s intelligence and law enforcement products:

Nuance uses the voice and text information it collects to “develop, tune, enhance, and improve Nuance services and products.”… Nuance’s products and services include voice biometric solutions sold to military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies…. The use of children’s voice and text information to enhance products and services sold to military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies creates a substantial risk of harm because children may be unfairly targeted by these organizations if their voices are inaccurately matched to recordings obtained by these organizations.

This could be one of those moments that causes a policy reaction. While negative press may have an impact on the individual companies and their sectors, the only methods that can truly help prevent more of these kinds of unsafe products is regulation and the threat of lawsuit. Let’s hope that policymakers and regulators use this opportunity to scare other toy makers, demonstrate the power of sanction, punish the bad actors, and increase the potency of data security and children’s safety regulation.

Coalitions & Consortia Data Protection Intimacy Law Privacy by Design Security Toys

I’m very happy to announce the publication of a new report: Privacy and the Internet of Things. Published by O’Reilly Media, the report explores the privacy risks implied by increasing numbers of devices in the human environment, and the historical and emerging frameworks to address them. It’s a free report, available for download here:

http://www.oreilly.com/iot/free/privacy-and-the-iot.csp

In this report, you will:

  • Learn the various definitions of the Internet of Things
  • Explore the meaning of privacy and survey its mechanics and methods from American and European perspectives
  • Understand the differences between privacy and security in the IoT
  • Examine major privacy risks implied by the proliferation of connected devices
  • Review existing and emerging frameworks for addressing IoT privacy risks
  • Find resources for further reading and research into IoT privacy

I’d be very happy to discuss any of the report’s content. Please feel free to email me at gilad(at)iotprivacyforum.org.

 

Academics Data Protection Policy Privacy by Design

UC Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity released “Cybersecurity Futures 2020,” a set of scenarios meant to spur conversations about the future of cybersecurity and related topics. Dr. Gilad Rosner, founder of the IoT Privacy Forum, was one of the contributors to the Intentional Internet of Things scenario, which provokes discussion with this image of the future:

“While the widespread adoption of IoT technologies may be predictable in 2016, the mechanism that will propel this shift is less so. In this scenario, government will intentionally drive IoT adoption to help societies combat recalcitrant large-scale problems in areas like education, the environment, public health, and personal well-being. This will be widely seen as beneficial, particularly as the technologies move quickly from being household novelties to tools for combating climate change and bolstering health. “Smart cities” will transition from hype to reality as urban areas adapt to the IoT with surprising speed. In this world, cybersecurity will fade as a separate area of interest; when digitally connected technologies are part of everyday life, their security is seen as inseparable from personal and national security. But while this world will offer fantastic benefits for public life and reinvigorate the role of governments, there will also be greater vulnerability as IoT technologies become more foundational to government functions and the collective good.”   (from: https://cltc.berkeley.edu/scenario/scenario-four/)

Main page: https://cltc.berkeley.edu/scenarios/

Intro and Executive Summary: https://cltc.berkeley.edu/files/2016/04/intro_04-27-04a_pages.pdf

Full report: https://cltc.berkeley.edu/files/2016/04/cltcReport_04-27-04a_pages.pdf

 

Academics Policy Privacy by Design Security

This Tuesday, Dr Gilad Rosner, founder of the IoT Privacy Forum, will be doing a free one hour webcast called Privacy, Society & the Internet of Things. It’s an exploration of the many meanings of ‘privacy,’ the privacy risks implied by a world of connected devices, and some of the frameworks emerging to address those risks. The webcast will be broadcast live at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm GMT. Register for it here: http://www.oreilly.com/pub/e/3582

Conference Law Policy Privacy by Design

Data Protection Policy Privacy by Design Realpolitik

Dr Gilad Rosner, the founder of the IoT Privacy Forum, will be giving a free webcast today at 10a PT / 1p ET / 6p GMT. You can register for it here. Topics include privacy in the IoT, privacy by design, and the sociotechnical nature of connected devices.

Intimacy Privacy by Design